Bad Dream of Arithmetic

“Frail is the royal barge, / Autumn the cargo.”

from Robert Hillyer’s The Leaf


In those last hours or days you’ll negotiate

spheres and rays with Galileo,

finally bend the ear of the brother

who  forever raced ahead,

revisit an evening on the rock

with the girl in micro shorts and long socks

shivering on the billiard table

as the ocean rolled back

and surrounded you,

the steeple zeroing in on Vesper.


How have our pomps decayed!

goes your song reprised: the chords

ringing from a practice room Bösendorfer

count moments liked stacked dominos.

All those fingerings

worked out until each arpeggio,

each eighth note, quarter or triplet

struck like a printing press key;

hours curved by the metronome

and the clarinet’s corkscrew

until the piece walked

itself with a sailor’s gait


return like the restless night

before the audition –-

divisions gathered in an armada

awaiting subtraction –-

and all the lives in a small world


hanging tight on its result.

David P. Kozinski has been the featured poet in Schuylkill Valley Journal. He won the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. His poems have appeared in Apiary, The Broadkill Review,Chiron Review, Confrontation, Fox Chase Review,, Margie, and The Rathalla Review, among others. Kozinski was one of ten poets chosen by Robert Bly for a workshop sponsored by American Poetry Reviewand has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. He received Honorable Mention in Philadelphia Poets’ 7thAnnual John & Rose Petracca & Family Award. Kozinski lives in Wilmington, DE with his wife, actress and journalist Patti Allis Mengers.

The Bike Shop

The plows have done their work and then some

as I coast the washboard lane to a bike shop

where the sign on the main road says I can also

purchase peach preserves and tractor parts.


A bell on the door brings a black retriever

and the sound of slackening metal pawls

that says a wheel has just been left to friction

and its own kind of true. As the owner goes

to the rear storeroom to dig out the tire

I need – “we don’t get many Italian bikes

in here” – the room regains its equilibrium.


Behind the counter around a repair stand

sit a space heater and a knot of men


on folding chairs. Their Pennfield caps predict

laments about the price of milk or scolding spouses,

but it seems they are debating when

to stage a bike race for the younger kids

up Pump House Road to an apple orchard.


A kind of liturgical calendar is unfolding

with a bicycle feast made moveable by

an annual Florida vacation when two border collies

with the run of the hill will be at a kennel, which

means in turn that the date for a mud sale

is on hold, and maybe an April wedding.


A few deft twists secure my new tire to its rim,

and I push my bike back down the aisle and into

the cold with a slice of warm air against my chest

and a fresh sense of the merits of invisible fences.

Ed Granger lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He has worked in the non-profit healthcare field for the past two decades, following a stint as a professional journalist. He now writes as a serious avocation while also serving as half-time dad to a nine-year-old daughter. He has had poems published in Little Patuxent Review, River Poets Journal, and The Heron’s Nest.